The big news from last night and this morning is that two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return were released on television. Two pages. Of a 14-year-old tax return. It is rather like giving a man who is dying of thirst in the desert a 15 cent coupon for a bottle of wine. It is nothing. It tells us nothing. And in truth, though the White House staff pretended righteous indignation, it is extremely likely that Trump himself ‘leaked’ those two pages in yet another attempt to turn the public’s attention from the Russian hacking of the election, the growing claims of Russian connections among Trump’s staff, Monday’s release of the CBO report on the disastrous effects of Trumpcare, and his inane tweets last week saying that President Obama had ‘wiretapped’ his phones. Those two pages are worthless, folks. Yes, I want Trump’s tax returns released, but not two pages from 2005. I want the full returns from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Full returns. For the past six years. Until that happens, it is not news, it tells us not a single thing about his financial dealings, and it is nothing more than another red herring.
The real news is the news that we did not see on our televisions or online or on the front pages of the New York Times. The real news is what is happening with the investigation into Trump & Co.’s Russian ties, the very thing Trump is trying so hard to distract us from.
So what IS going on with the investigation? On March 2nd, during a meeting between FBI Director James Comey, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (unfortunate name – leads to confusion), and Senator Lindsey Graham, Comey indicated that he ‘might’ provide a “clearer explanation” of the existence of a Russia-related FBI investigation in advance of an anticipated Senate hearing on Wednesday, March 15th. The Senate hearing is titled “The Modus Operandi and Toolbox of Russia and Other Autocracies for Undermining Democracies Throughout the World”. That’s a mouthful! The hearing will focus on the FBI’s role in any Russia investigation. According to Senator Whitehouse, “You can’t really be in the position of saying, ‘your congressional oversight will interfere with an ongoing investigation but we’re not going to confirm that we have an ongoing investigation.’ You can’t have it both ways.” In other words, Senators Whitehouse and Graham are still trying to figure out if the FBI has an investigation going. Sigh.
Turning our focus to the House investigation, the two top leaders are Representative Adam Schiff and Representative Devin Nunes. Schiff says Russia’s effort to sway the election for President Donald Trump is one of the most serious issues of our time. Devin Nunes isn’t even convinced Russia tried to help Trump. Obviously this one will go well. Nunes, by the way, was a member of Trump’s transition team, if that tells you anything. THIS, folks, exemplifies why we need an independent investigation. At the very beginning of the House investigation, Nunes claimed he saw no evidence tying Trump officials to Moscow. Schiff responded with, “When you begin an investigation, you don’t begin by stating what you believe to be the conclusion.” Quite so … it would be like a scientist drawing a conclusion, then looking only for data to support his conclusion. This is NOT the way to run an investigation.
In other news, Representative Nunes announced earlier today that he has not seen any evidence that then-President Barack Obama wiretapped Donald Trump last year. “We don’t have any evidence that that took place and in fact I don’t believe — just in the last week of time, the people we’ve talked to — I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.” What a surprise, huh? Another red herring bites the dust. I wonder if they checked the microwave oven for hidden cameras?
In still other news, FBI investigators and computer scientists continue to examine whether there was a computer server connection between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank, Alfa Bank, according to a CNN report.
The news that I would like to hear, is what is being done to investigate the ever-widening array of contacts between Trump and Putin via Trump’s businesses, family, and staff/cabinet members. Politico has put together seven charts that best clarifies what we know at this point. Below is the first of the seven, but I encourage readers to check out the others as well, as there are some rather interesting connections that I was not aware of.
It is imperative that we focus on those things that actually have relevance. Two pages of Donald Trump’s 14-year-old tax returns are not relevant and tell us absolutely nothing. His claims of wiretapping are ludicrous. Yet it is these stories that we are force-fed to the exclusion of the more important news. Trump is using diversionary tactics to send us all off chasing moonbeams while ignoring the fires under our feet. There is a reason … always a reason …